According to the figures published in early January by the Irish Health and Safety Authority (HSA), 37 people were killed in work-related accidents in 2018, a decline of 23% on 2017. This is also the lowest figure since the Authority was set up in 1989. The farming sector, which has consistently been the most dangerous sector, recorded 15 work-related deaths last year compared to 25 in 2017, a decline of 40%. The fatal accident rate of 1.6 deaths per 100,000 workers is now at an all-time low.
“Due to the efforts of employers, employees and key stakeholders, there has been a huge improvement in health and safety standards since 1990, when the fatality rate was 6.4. However, much still remains to be done,” said Sharon McGuinness, Chief Executive Officer of the HSA. The farming and construction sectors (five deaths in 2018, 14% of the total) will remain a key priority in 2019.
Ms McGuinness added: “The economy is thriving with thousands of new workers joining the workforce each month. There are challenges ahead such as Brexit and also the fact that many employers are facing a skills shortage in certain sectors. In this context it is important that worker health and safety stays on the priority list. Safe and healthy employees are the backbone of any successful enterprise”.